Whamit!

The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, January 7th, 2008

Welcome to Whamit!  

This is the first issue of our (more or less) weekly newsletter. Your editors are Adam Albright, Kai von Fintel, and Jonah Katz. Thanks to Chris Potts (WHISC) and Jim McCloskey (WHASC) for advice. Thanks to Chris Naylor for technical assistance.

Members of the MIT Linguistics community are urged to supply material for the newsletter. The easiest way is to email us at whamit AT mit DOT edu. Please also send us any and all feedback on the newsletter.

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Jones and Coon plan IAP intro to Kinande  

Patrick Jones and Jessica Coon are planning a short introduction to Kinande for the last two weeks of IAP. The intro is primarily intended for students who will be taking Topics in a Less Familiar Language next semester, but is of course open to all. More details will follow.

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IAP Course on ToBI  

6.911 Transcribing Prosodic Structure of Spoken Utterances with ToBI
Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Nanette Veilleux, Alejna Brugos
Tue, Thu, Jan 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31, 11am-01:00pm, 32-044

Training in the ToBI system (for ‘To’nes and ‘B’reak ‘I’ndices) to transcribe the prosodic structure of spoken utterances in American English. 8 sessions will combine new ToBI tutorial presentation with extensive practice and discussion; opportunities to practice labelling outside of class. Participants are encouraged to submit sample utterances of particular interest to them, for general discussion. Class is appropriate for undergrad or grad students with background in linguistics (phonology or phonetics), cognitive psychology (psycholinguistics), speech acoustics or music, who wish to learn about the prosody of speech, i.e. the intonation, rhythm, grouping and prominence patterns of spoken utterances, prosodic differences that signal meaning & phonetic implementation.

More info: Web page from 2006 version of the class

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Podcast Interview with Kai von Fintel on S&P  

The podcast team from the MIT Libraries interviewed Kai about the new journal Semantics & Pragmatics. The interview is about 11 minutes long. Take a listen!.

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Gallagher and Coon at ConSOLE XVI  

Gillian Gallagher will present at ConSOLE XVI (Conference of the Student Organization of Linguistics in Europe) in Paris January 10. She’s presenting joint work with Jessica Coon, entitled “Identity and Consonant Harmony in Chol (Mayan).”

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LSA Annual Meeting  

Quite a few members of our department were in Chicago this past weekend at the annual meeting of the LSA. Apart from Irene, David, Kai, and Jessica conducting many interviews of candidates for our open position, and apart from our own students interviewing for jobs, the following members of the department (and recent graduates) gave talks:

  • Adam Albright: From clusters to words: grammatical models of nonce-word acceptability
  • Tamina Stephenson: Epistemic modals and PRO
  • Jessica Coon: Interrogative possessors and the problem with pied-piping in Chol Mayan
  • Michael Kenstowicz: A phonetic study of Kinande ATR harmony
  • Edward Flemming: Asymmetries between assimilation and epenthesis
  • Martina Gracanin-Yuksek (Middle East Technical University): All auxiliary clitics in Croatian occupy the same syntactic position

Jessica Coon also gave a talk on “The source of split ergativity in Chol Mayan” at the concurrent meeting of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA).

And, subprime was voted as the word of the year by the American Dialect Society. Among the winners in other categories: the prefix and combining form green- (as in greenwashing) won for both “most useful” and “most likely to succeed,” Googlegänger won for “most creative,” toe-tapper won for “most outrageous,” and human terrain team won for “most euphemistic.”

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IAP Course on ToBI  

6.911 Transcribing Prosodic Structure of Spoken Utterances with ToBI
Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Nanette Veilleux, Alejna Brugos
Tue, Thu, Jan 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31, 11am-01:00pm, 32-044

Training in the ToBI system (for ‘To’nes and ‘B’reak ‘I’ndices) to transcribe the prosodic structure of spoken utterances in American English. 8 sessions will combine new ToBI tutorial presentation with extensive practice and discussion; opportunities to practice labelling outside of class. Participants are encouraged to submit sample utterances of particular interest to them, for general discussion. Class is appropriate for undergrad or grad students with background in linguistics (phonology or phonetics), cognitive psychology (psycholinguistics), speech acoustics or music, who wish to learn about the prosody of speech, i.e. the intonation, rhythm, grouping and prominence patterns of spoken utterances, prosodic differences that signal meaning & phonetic implementation.

More info: Web page from 2006 version of the class

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